The Butter Bell is just the perfect thing for keeping butter at room temperature for easy spreading. I remember someone having a butter keeper that was clay kept wet like the garlic keepers I see everywhere, but I have not been able to find one. I have asked everyone I have stayed with, but as I’ve traveled to so many places, I couldn’t begin to guess where it was. While I was looking for a clay butter keeper, I was missing the ones which are for sale all over the net. Then I saw a Butter Bell for sale in my local grocery store and jumped at it. I liked the idea of keeping the butter cool with the evaporation of the water from the clay, but I was willing to give this butter keeper a chance.
How does the butter keeper work?
The Butter Bell is lifted out of the container and turned upside down so it becomes a little butter dish. The instructions say to pack the butter in when it is cold and let it soften. However, when I used very cold butter it just wouldn’t pack in well and when I came back to use it, I found some chunks had fallen into the water. That was not a problem, as fat and water don’t usually mix, so I just scooped the chunks out and pressed them back into the top. It works much better for me to use the butter slightly soft but still cool.
As this is called a Butter Bell it is obviously intended for real butter. Don’t use margarine or other fats, but that shouldn’t matter because they don’t get hard when cold. When I need the other spread I use a tub of margarine mixed with olive oil which is always soft. or the hard stuff if needed for cooking.
The instructions on my Butter Bell say to put in new cold fresh water every three days. Most of the time I can’t think of going that long without butter, so I just put fresh water in the container most of the time when I use it. I use cold water from my refrigerator dispenser, and sometimes remember to add a few chunks of crushed ice or a few ice cubes. I take the ice out before putting the butter back. The Butter Bell is designed to seal with the water so it probably doesn’t matter how cold it is.
Should you use other dairy products in the butter keeper?
Some of the comments I saw on the web mentioned that these butter keepers are good for Cream Cheese, but the Butter Bell site says the cream cheese won’t stay put and may fall and mix with the water, which butter doesn’t do as it is all fat. Cream Cheese also needs to be cold to stay fresh and not spoil, and the Butter Bell keeps butter fresh at room temperature. That caution would also be the case for other soft cheeses.
The Butter Bell Butter Crock company explains that their butter keeper system is a centuries old French method for keeping butter fresh and spreadable. It is made from durable stoneware and holds one stick of butter for up to 30 days without requiring refrigeration. I can’t imagine a stick of butter lasting me anywhere near that long, but it is nice to know it could.
There are lots of other brands and styles of butter keepers available which all work the same way. It depends which style fits the décor of your kitchen. Some are bigger, but I prefer one which holds only one stick of butter, as we don’t have a big family digging in to butter toast at breakfast time. I have been using the one I have for several weeks now, and I really love having the soft butter there, rather than having to microwave my butter, sometimes ending up with half liquid in my butter dish. With my new soft Butter Bell, I enjoy my toast for breakfast with perfectly soft butter.
Sources: Butter Bell website.